Front Public Health. 2022 Jan 12;9:754706. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.754706. eCollection 2021.
Background/Aim: The association between heavy metal exposure and adverse birth outcomes is well-established. However, there is a paucity of research identifying biomarker profiles that may improve the early detection of heavy metal-induced adverse birth outcomes. Because lipids are abundant in our body and associated with important signaling pathways, we assessed associations between maternal metals/metalloid blood levels with lipidomic profiles among 83 pregnant women in the Puerto Rico PROTECT birth cohort. Methods: We measured 10 metals/metalloid blood levels during 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. Prenatal plasma lipidomic profiles were identified by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based shotgun lipidomics. We derived sums for each lipid class and sums for each lipid sub-class (saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated), which were then regressed on metals/metalloid. False discovery rate (FDR) adjusted p-values (q-values) were used to account for multiple comparisons. Results: A total of 587 unique lipids from 19 lipid classes were profiled. When controlling for multiple comparisons, we observed that maternal exposure to manganese and zinc were negatively associated with plasmenyl-phosphatidylethanolamine (PLPE), particularly those containing polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) chains. In contrast to manganese and zinc, arsenic and mercury were positively associated with PLPE and plasmenyl-phosphatidylcholine (PLPC). Conclusion: Certain metals were significantly associated with lipids that are responsible for the biophysical properties of the cell membrane and antioxidant defense in lipid peroxidation. This study highlighted lipid-metal associations and we anticipate that this study will open up new avenues for developing diagnostic tools.